McLaren: We’re still not quite where we want to be

6 July, 2013

Team and drivers report on qualifying for the German Grand Prix at Nurburgring, Round 9 of the 2013 Formula 1 World Championship.

Jenson Button; MP4-28A-03:

Qualifying

  • Q1 7th                      1m31.181s (on Options)
  • Q2 10th                    1m30.269s (on Options)
  • Q3 9th overall         no time

“My lap in Q2 was about as good as it’s going to get for us at the moment – in fact, it was one of the best laps I’ve done in a very long time. I don’t think I left anything out there, so I’m very happy about that.

“Strategically, it was a difficult decision for Q3: do we run the Option, the Prime, or do we not run at all? My heart said we should go out and set a time, whereas my head said we probably shouldn’t!

“Our pace suggested that qualifying sixth would have made it worthwhile [to go out and set a time on the Option], and we probably could have done that – but we chose not to complete a lap, playing a cat-and-mouse game with Nico [Hulkenberg].

“Nevertheless, starting ninth is not too bad – I’ll be on the clean side of the grid, and I have the freedom to choose my tyre compound, because I didn’t set a laptime this afternoon. It’ll be interesting to see what happens to the Option tyre early on in the race, but I think we’ve put ourselves in the best possible position for tomorrow.”

Sergio Perez; MP4-28A-01:

Qualifying

  • Q1 14th                    1m31.498s (on Options)
  • Q2 13th overall        1m30.999s (on Options)

“It hasn’t been the best day for us, and starting 13th wasn’t what I was hoping for.

“Jenson did a great lap, but I’ve struggled all weekend to match him – especially today, when I think we went a little bit in the wrong direction. This morning, we encountered some problems with the car; perhaps we over-compensated for that, going back on the set-up, getting understeer, and finding it quite difficult to get the tyres warmed up.

“This was a tough afternoon for me, but we can do better tomorrow. I didn’t get everything out of the car today, but it’s going to be very interesting to see how the tyres perform in the race.”

Martin Whitmarsh, Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes:

“In Q2, the fact that Jenson was four tenths from the front was encouraging, but we’re still not quite where we want to be. In all likelihood, Jenson could probably have qualified sixth today; but, strategically, we chose to do what we thought was best for the race.

“I think we did the right thing by running Jenson into Q3: we were so close to the pack during Q2 that we considered pushing to make up a few further places. Ultimately, however, we chose a more prudent approach.

Nonetheless, starting Jenson from ninth is not a bad place to be, particularly as, we suspect, the Option-runners ahead of us will have to stop quite early in the race.

“We had a few issues on Sergio’s car this morning and I don’t think we got it back to its best. He simply wasn’t as comfortable as Jenson out there. I’m sure he’ll be disappointed by the outcome of qualifying, but he’s an exciting racer and will be charging hard in the race.

“We will try to hopefully get both cars into some reasonable points tomorrow.” (McLaren F1)

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